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Old 5th November 2007, 09:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

A rejection i got from a publisher today stunned and irrateed me.
she said that my book was too slow to start for a tween/teenage market
i said, it wasn't aimed at that.
zshe said, main character is a teenager (17) and adults can't relate to teenagers

now, im an adult. 30 (tho hard to believe the way i carry on) but i read and even often prefer books with teenage main characters.
lynn flewelling's tamir triliogy
robin hobb's farseer (he is young for a lot of it)
george rr martin has young kids, and they're my FAV characters for the most part
tad williams, memory sorrow thorn, simon is a spotty teen, from what i recall. 14 or so.

those books aren't specifically aimed at the teenage market, not as im aware. and certainly they're read by adults. i don't think any adult has any problem relating to the lead

or do they?
am i missing something here? should a teenage character instantlly mean the book is best for teens? even if it's got a lot of grownup stuff in it?

as an adult (those who are) can you relate to books with teens? do you dislike them, prefer an adult main character?
and teens, do you prefer teens? or can you relate to adult leads?

does the protaognist need to be the same age as you, or similiar, for you to relate to it?

Last edited by the_faery_queen; 5th November 2007 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

How does he account for the success of "Harry Potter", then?? Balderdash!
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

she. i don't know. i just thought of that myself and wished i had pointed out that a lot of adults read potter (as she pointed out to me that potter is dark and still for kids)
i agree. i think it is rubbish. im peeved, in honesty. not for being rejected, that's fine. but for being rejected cos my book is too slow to start for a market it's not aimed at! and i am baffled by the idea that adults can't relate to teenage leads. i can. and my fav book, at 30, is still alice in wonderland! and not for nostaliga reasons, but because it's brilliant.
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

Perhaps she was one of the ones that rejected Rowling, and still hasn't got over it....



Used to live in Swansea, incidentally: in Treforys/Morriston.
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

I myself have never been that keen on teenage protagonists; but others seem to be. So, while I didn't particularly like Stephen King's Wizard and Glass, many adults say that it's their favourite Dark Tower series volume.

(And if having teenagers as the principal characters in a book is good enough for Stephen King, who amongst us is to say different. Apart from your non-publisher, of course.)

EDIT: As for readers only liking protagonists the same age as them, how many people are as old as Gandalf, for instance.

Last edited by Ursa major; 5th November 2007 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

Surely it depends on your story, anyway - teenagers will react to a given situation one way, mature protagonists another: old people yet another. If the story needs the reaction of teenagers to the Mcguffin, that's the way it's got to be written....

Her loss, not yours!
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

yep. i tyhink so!
but it would have been nice to be accepted. i have another publisher who did accept me, (not signed with them yet) but they're ebook, and i really want print, and a lot of my friends have been putting them down, so having this other publisher say yes would have relieved a lot of that stress
but then, they're us based, so ordering in copies for myself would have been pricey!

and i dunno, in my novel, candale is just an idiot. he will react like an idiot no matter what his age
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Old 5th November 2007, 09:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

Did she say that adults can't relate to 17 year old characters generally, or did she say that your particular character was one that adults might find less interesting than teenage readers would (if your book had otherwise fit into her idea of what teenage readers like)? Whichever one she said, you might take time to consider whether the second one was what she actually meant. Editors who have already given you an opinion tend to get curt if you ask them to reconsider.

Anyway, it's a mistake to argue with an editor's reasons for rejecting your manuscript. It's different venting to us here; but telling the editor, "It wasn't meant for teenage readers" does you no good. You won't change her mind, and both sides end up feeling miffed.
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

no, she said generally. she said that adults can't relate generally.

Most adults aren't going to relate
to someone that young except in passing as the protagonist.

he's 18. he's not that young and a lot of fantasy books have teenage progaonists

she also said:

In short, any editor you submit this too, no matter how carefully you
explain that it's intended for an adult audience, is going to consider
it first for YA because of the protagonist's age.

which is also untrue. it was accepted with one publisher (who went bust)
it's been accepted with another (who im thinking about) and both know and
agree it's adult and neither ever mentioned ya. this is the first time ANYONE
has ever said it to me

and i know it's not wise to argue. i wasn't actually aruging. i had to find out
why she thought it was for kids in case it was my actual writing style or she had
simply made a mistake.

*shrug* she hadn't. but i still think she has, because what she said is daft.
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

I'm 35, and I've read four books (out of around 30ish, so little over 10% of total titles) that feature an adolescent / teenager as the protagonist.

None of them involved a wizard, btw.

Out of those four books, three were targeted towards young adult readership, only one would have been marketed as adult fiction.
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

well i've read god knows how many with teenage characters in and none of them were specifically aimed at young adults and many of them had slow starts (because i like that) which the publisher also disliked.
so i guess it depends what you read.
but i think it's daft to say, it has a young character therefore it MUST be for young readers.
because adults will read books wityh teenagers in, just as teenagers will read about adults. you can't just say, teenage character = teenage reader, because it doesn't. harry potter, for instance. and that was specifically aimed at young adults, but had a big adult following.

i don't think it's that cut and dry and im surprised when people think it is, because i haven't really come across anyone who won't read or relate to a book just because it's got a young character and they're grownup, or who naturally assume young character = young fan base

and i guess i should stop saying young, cos 18 isn't. it's young to me, but it's not young to a lot of people in their 20s who are considered adult.
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

Quote:
In short, any editor you submit this too, no matter how carefully you
explain that it's intended for an adult audience, is going to consider
it first for YA because of the protagonist's age.
The italics are mine, but if you place the emphasis there, you can see that what she is saying is actually quite different than saying no editor would ever accept it as anything but a YA.

I know from experience (at both ends of the equation) that what editors say and what writers hear when they've just been rejected are often two different things. It may be that there is something in her comments that you can apply constructively; it may be that there is absolutely nothing. But now, when you are feeling upset, is not the best time to evaluate her comments.
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

im not upset. surprised really, cos no one has ever said that to me. and i do accept it could be a misunderstanding on that comment, but her, most adults won't relate one, is still pretty clear and i still think that's wrong. i've read alot of books with teenage main characters (i actually prefer them. especially gangy boys ) and i relate. i really don't get age as being that much of an issue
but now it's gotten me all paranoid that everyone else in the world will think that and it will end up being printed for ya (if at all) and people will then object to all the horror and gayuness that follows as being unsuitable for ya which is was never written for to start with *cry*
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_faery_queen View Post
but now it's gotten me all paranoid that everyone else in the world will think that and it will end up being printed for ya (if at all) and people will then object to all the horror and gayuness that follows as being unsuitable for ya which is was never written for to start with *cry*
Now to me, this sounds like you're upset. And why shouldn't you be? Rejection is always painful.

But you don't have to sell your book to someone who is going to market it as YA. We have that much control over the fate of our books at least.
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Old 6th November 2007, 02:48 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: books with teenage characters only for teenage readers?

No need to get paranoid most adults like adult books with teenage main characters. Heck its the reason its so rare to seen an adult main character in for example Fantasy. People are so used to teenage heroes that its almost a minus to have an adult main character.


As Teresa says you have control over you book to not sell it to someone who will market it as YA.

Plus you are thinking about another publisher anyway. Dont let this one get to you whatever she means by what she said.


If she means what you think she means then its the stupidiest thing i have heard for a long time.
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